Intel made its first statement on the metaverse on Tuesday — its first public acknowledgement of that sometimes-nebulous future of computing. Which promises an always connected virtual world that exists in parallel with our physical one.
However, while Intel is optimistic about the metaverse’s potential in theory, it presents a significant challenge with accomplishing any metaverse ambitions. There isn’t nearly enough computing power to go around.
Much of the hoopla surrounding the metaverse has centered on what you’ll be able to do there. Whether it’s virtual reality meetings, digital concerts, or, of course, blockchain and NFT-based integrations. And, whether it’s Meta’s Quest devices or Apple’s long-rumored headset. There’s plenty of excitement about the future of virtual and augmented reality headsets.
The actual building blocks of the metaverse aren’t just going to be software and virtual spaces
The metaverse’s actual building blocks won’t just be software and virtual places. Or even the headsets and gadgets people need to “get” there. It’ll be in the computers and servers that power the metaverse’s massive shared virtual worlds. Which the metaverse envisions as the technological future.
And it’s there that Intel delivers the most sobering reality check: today’s computers are simply not powerful enough to realize those goals. They don’t even come close.
Intel, of course, has a vested interest in claiming that more and better computers and servers are required. Intel, after all, makes CPUs (and, shortly, GPUs) for both consumer electronics and data centers. Additionally if the metaverse, the future’s trendiest buzzword technology requires a 1,000x boost in computer power, that’s just smart business. It’s no accident that Intel’s metaverse brief specifically mentioned both its client computing and cloud processors, as well as its graphics offerings.
Intel doesn’t think that the hardware alone is going to get us to 1,000x
The difficulty is that even Intel does not believe that hardware will be enough to get us to 1,000x. “We believe that a conventional Moore’s Law trajectory will only get us to roughly eight or ten times growth over the next five years,” Koduri said in an interview with Quartz.
However, the fact that Intel is thinking about it now — and stating the problem — is a positive sign. It’s tempting to get caught up in the hoopla and start suggesting outlandish concepts for selling NFTs that will follow you about in various games and virtual environments.
If the metaverse is to achieve its sci-fi goals, Intel’s presentation demonstrates that many more foundational pieces need to b eput in place in the upcoming years.